So, what is mastiha?
Mastiha is the treasured gem of the Aegean, a sweet, clear crystal from the aromatic resin of the Mastic Tree. This tree is extraordinarily rare and only grows in the southern part of the Greek island of Chios, in the eastern Aegean. Mastic has been harvested for at least 2,500 years since Greek Antiquity and is still only exclusively grown on the island of Chios. Mastic sap drops hang from the tree, and sparkle in the sunlight, they are said to resemble crystalline tear-drops; for this reason, the mastic sap is known as the ‘tears of Chios’. Chios mastiha has been recognised as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product by the EU.
The Mastic Tree
is an evergreen shrub that may grow as high as 3 metres. It develops slowly, taking 40 to 50 years to reach its final form, but starts producing its precious resin within five years of being planted. The bush itself could not be more common in coastal areas all over the Mediterranean, and yet it is only on Chios, and the southern half of that island, to be precise, around the so-called Mastiha Villages (Mastihohoria), that the trees produce their resin commercially viable amounts. It has been the primary source of income for residents of the area for countless generations.
Why were you so drawn to mastiha?
Chios mastiha can play an important role in our everyday lives as it exhibits strong antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidization action. I think it’s important in this day and age to focus foremost on our health and to then promote health and balance in our daily lives. We should also become more conscious of our environment and everything we absorb into our bodies.
Mastiha from Chios and its benefits both for health and for beauty.
Of all the captivating aromatic scents in the world, none is quite like Chios mastiha. The resinous crystal granule comes from the mastic tree. Published scientific research indicates that Chios mastiha exhibits strong antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation action.
Chios mastiha is known to have many positive health benefits including:
- hygiene of the gastrointestinal system, prevention and treatment of peptic system disorders (such as ulcers and dyspepsia)
- healing of the skin and skin rejuvenation
- beneficial effects on lipids and glucose metabolism
- oral hygiene (contributing to the reduction of plaque formation, elimination of the oral bacteria and strengthening the gums)
Mastic is used as gum, aroma and flavour in pastry making and also in the production of the famous mastic liquor. Mastic oil is also used in furniture and musical instruments industry.
Mastic has important qualities for medicine and pharmaceutics, some of which are known since antiquity. In medicine, it has been used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, bronchitis and stomachache. It is also used in the production of surgical threads. In pharmaceuticals, it has been used in vitamin manufacturer. It has also been used in dentistry, cosmetics industry, distilleries etc.